CANADA FX DEBT-C$ weakens to US$ parity briefly ahead of Fed

Wed Sep 21, 2011 10:11am EDT
 
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   * C$0.9987 vs US$, or $1.0013
 * Briefly touches parity with U.S. dollar
 * Canada CPI stronger than expected
 * Focus on FOMC outcome at 2.15 p.m. (1815 GMT)
 * Bond prices lower, Canada underperforms
 (Updates with drop to parity, adds comment)
 By Andrea Hopkins
 TORONTO, Sept 21 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar weakened
to parity with its U.S. counterpart on Wednesday morning,
shrugging off higher-than-expected Canadian inflation data as
global markets awaited the outcome of the U.S. Federal
Reserve's closely watched policy meeting.
 The Canadian currency had last touched parity on Sept. 12.
Traders said the Canadian dollar was simply catching up to the
weakness of other commodity-linked currencies after being
temporarily buoyed by the higher-than-expected inflation data.
 "A lot of other currencies had been weaker overnight. There
is a sense of foreboding hanging over markets and Canada sort
of avoided it with CPI earlier today, but now we're heading
back to the pack," said David Watt, senior currency strategist
at Royal Bank of Canada.
 "I don't think the market necessarily treats the parity
mark all that significantly, but obviously Canadians do. But
... we're really just catching up with the market."
 At 9:18 a.m. (1318 GMT), the Canadian dollar CAD=D4 stood
at C$0.9987 to the U.S. dollar, or $1.0013, below Tuesday's
North American session close of C$0.9936 to the U.S. dollar, or
$1.0064 U.S. cents.
 It weakened to parity earlier, dropping as low as C$1.0001
to the U.S. dollar, or 99.99 U.S. cents.
 World stocks drifted lower and the euro also slipped ahead
of the Fed's closely watched Federal Open Market Committee
(FOMC) policy meeting, with concerns about a possible Greek
default weighing on investor sentiment.
 Those persisting concerns about Greek sovereign debt
limited any excitement ahead of the Fed, with Greece and
international lenders yet to reach a deal to allow Athens more
funds despite some progress. [MKTS/GLOB]
 The Fed is expected to announce at 2:15 p.m. (1815 GMT)
plans to shift its portfolio in favor of longer-dated bonds and
so push long-term interest rates - already near historic lows -
even lower in a move known as Operation Twist. [ID:nFEDAHEAD]
 The Canadian dollar briefly pared losses against its U.S.
counterpart after Canadian consumer price data came in stronger
than expected, but the currency then weakened back to pre data
levels, below Tuesday's session close.
 "We got a little bit of a bounce after a slightly strong
CPI data, but really I think the market has got two things on
its mind. Number one, comments from (Bank of Canada) Governor
(Mark) Carney that were a little more dovish, and more
importantly, the FOMC later today," said Steve Butler, director
of foreign exchange trading at Scotia Capital.
  Canadian data showed the annual inflation rate increased
to a higher-than-expected 3.1 percent in August, but analysts
said this was unlikely to worry the Bank of Canada, which is
more concerned about problems in Europe and the United States.
 Market operators had expected the annual rate to rise to
2.9 percent from the 2.7 percent recorded in July.
[ID:nS1E78K04J]
 Analysts noted the currency briefly strengthened as the
inflation report cooled some market speculation that the Bank
of Canada will cut interest rates.
 Overnight index swaps, which trade based on expectations
for the central bank's main policy rate, showed that traders
priced in lower odds of a rate cut this year or next after the
data. BOCWATCH
 Bond prices were lower across the curve and underperformed
U.S. Treasuries.
 The two-year bond CA2YT=RR was down 4.5 Canadian cents to
yield 0.962 percent, while the 10-year bond CA10YT=RR was
down 21 Canadian cents to yield 2.220 percent.
 (Editing by Peter Galloway)